Summary: Paul makes it clear what he is preaching.
In his introductory notes to the book of Romans Chuck Swindoll says "when the late Donald Barnhouse began his ministry at Tenth Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, he stepped into the pulpit the first Sunday morning and preached from the first verse of Romans 1. He arrived the second Sunday morning and preached on the second verse of the same chapter (and did not quire finish that verse). The third Sunday morning he took up where he had left off in the second verse and moved on into the third verse."
"It is my understanding," says Swindoll, that for 42 continuous months, in that same pulpit, Barnhouse never preached on a text outside Paul’s letter to the Romans. Can you imagine it? He preached on Romans for three-and-a-half years . . . every Sunday!"
Now, I am not going to preach that long on this great book of scripture, unless God leads me that way, but we are going to spend most of the next three months looking at Romans. I encourage you to acquaint yourself with this great book of scripture as we do so.
A. I want to visit my Uncle Dave
1. Lives In Arizona
2. I like Arizona (IYC)
I would like to re-visit Arizona but there are two big barriers - time and money.
How about you? Where would you like to visit but for some reason find it hard to get there?
All of us have some place that we would like to visit and so did Paul - Rome.
B. Paul’s Travel Plans 1:10 - 12
1. Paul longs to see the believers (vs. 11)
2. Share a spiritual "blessing" What’s that? (Vs. 11)
3. Encourage and be encouraged in the faith (vs. 12)
Every trip has some type of purpose and itinerary. Some trips are for personal pleasure, some are for business, and some are for both. Some are for family reasons. Paul had a very important reason for wanting to visit Rome and it wasn’t social.
C. Paul’s Itinerary
1. To work among you (vs. 13)
2. To see results (vs. 13)
3. To fulfill an obligation (vs. 14)
4. To preach God’s Good News (v.15)
Paul is driven by a purpose - to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as he can and do so with results!
But, what is this Good News that Paul speaks of - what is the message that Paul so anxiously wishes to share in the power center of that point in human history?
When I worked in retail management our home office was in another part of the U.S. Our regional manager visited us twice during the time I was employed by that particular company. He always had an agenda when he visited - part of which was known and part of which was not known. That agenda had to do with business and what we were doing, or not doing as the case maybe, with regard to business.
Paul had a message, too.
D. Paul’s Message - God’s Good News! 1:15 - 17
1. This Good News is about Christ nothing else. (Vs. 16)
2. It is about the power of God at work saving everyone who believes (vs. 16) no matter what his or her background is
3. It is about how God makes us right in His sight. (Vs. 17)
4. It is a message about faith in this Good News and in the Christ of the Good News that makes us right with God and gives us life. (Vs. 17)
And Paul is not ashamed of this Good News. He is proud of it! He is glad to be associated with it! Because it is about the most important relationship that human beings have - a relationship with God! A God, as we will see in our study is holy, righteous, and perfect. But is also a God who deeply, deeply loves us and wants to make possible a right relationship with him by faith in Christ alone.
E. Application Questions:
1. How did God call you to Christ?
2. How has that call changed your goals? Or has it?
3. To what mission or task do you sense God nudging you? How is that reflected in your actions?
4. Notice verse 17 again - what strikes you about that verse? The centrality of faith alone in making us right with God.
In Acts 9 we read of Paul’s conversion to Christianity. It was profound, deep, and powerful. It left him a changed person. Yes, as we will read later in our study of Romans, he still had his struggles.
But, his relationship to God, through Christ, was the result of his believing, his trusting, his faith - not in his heritage, not in his education, not in his own efforts - but through Christ alone.